- The Washington Times - Thursday, July 17, 2003

PHILIPPINES

Terrorist’s jailbreakembarrasses Arroyo

MANILA — President Gloria Macapagal Arroyo assured allies yesterday of her country’s resolve to fight terrorism after police bungling and apparent corruption allowed one of the world’s most dangerous terrorists to escape from prison.

Three days after the jailbreak by convicted Indonesian Jemaah Islamiyah bomber Fathur Rohman al-Ghozi, Manila reassured rattled allies that it would not cave in to terrorists and that President Bush would be safe here on a visit planned for October.

Police said Wednesday that one guard had been asleep and another had been out shopping when al-Ghozi and two Filipino Muslim rebels fled a high-security Manila police jail, sparking a regional security alert.

The United States and Australia have expressed disappointment at the escape of al-Ghozi, who had been serving a 17-year sentence for illegally acquiring more than a ton of explosives in 2000.

JAPAN

Koizumi rolls diceon Iraq deployment

TOKYO — Volunteer Atsuhito Nakata’s shooting death while monitoring Cambodian elections in 1993 sent shock waves through Japan and sparked debate on ending the nation’s first postwar peacekeeping operation.

A decade later, there is concern that Prime Minister Junichiro Koizumi may be taking a serious political gamble if he goes ahead with plans to send troops to Iraq in what would be Japan’s biggest military deployment overseas since World War II.

Legislation paving the way for Japan to send about 1,000 troops to help rebuild war-torn Iraq is expected to be enacted next week. Mr. Koizumi has insisted that troops will be sent only to areas “free of military conflict.”

TAIWAN

Cabinet adopts rulesfor holding referendums

TAIPEI — The government of Chen Shui-bian approved yesterday guidelines for holding referendums on disputed policies for this island off China, a move that could draw further ire from Beijing.

The government could hold a referendum to coincide with presidential elections in March, though China has warned repeatedly of an attack if Mr. Chen goes ahead with a referendum on the island’s status.

Cabinet spokesman Lin Chia-lung said no vote on the island’s status would be held.

Weekly notes

Indonesian prosecutors yesterday repeated demands that key Bali bomb suspect Amrozi be sentenced to death. Defense attorneys argued that he was not a planner of the attack, though Amrozi admitted buying a ton of bomb-making chemicals and driving the van that was to carry one bomb to Bali. The Oct. 12 bombing of two nightspots there killed about 200 people from 21 countries. … The United States and Vietnam yesterday signed an agreement capping U.S.-bound Vietnamese textile exports in response to pressure from American manufacturers. U.S. Ambassador Raymond Burghardt and Trade Minister Truong Dinh Tuyen signed the accord in Hanoi, which was a reluctant partner in the negotiations and had voiced concerns about U.S. protectionism and the effect of the quotas on the local industry, which provides 2 million jobs.

From wire dispatches and staff reports


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